I received this book for free from Avon in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Duke Buys a Bride by Sophie Jordan
Also in this series: The Scandal of It All
Series: The Rogue Files #3
Published by Avon on July 24, 2018
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era, Scottish Highlands
A bride wasn’t in his plans . . .
The last thing Marcus, the Duke of Autenberry, expects to see after sleeping off a night’s drunken shenanigans is a woman being auctioned in the village square. Before he can think about the ramifications, he buys her, thinking he’s winning the girl her freedom. Instead, he discovers he’s bought a wife.
A duke wasn’t in hers . . .
Alyse Bell is almost rid of the shackles that bound her in a name-only marriage, but the day her friend promised to purchase her in a wife auction, he vanishes, leaving her to face a mob of unsavory bachelors intent on owning her body and soul. But the appearance of a wicked, wealthy stranger changes her path forever.
The road to ruin . . .
Marcus doesn’t know what to do with the impertinent chit who clearly isn’t duchess material! Insisting their marriage isn’t legitimate, they leave for his estate in Scotland, hoping to devise a plan to get rid of each other. However, on a journey fraught with misadventure, their attraction grows and Marcus realizes he’ll do anything to keep this fiery woman for his own.
*May contain a few spoilers…be aware*
The Duke Buys A Bride is the third book in the Rogue Files series by Sophie Jordan. This story was one I was highly anticipating, first off the cover is what really drew me to it and the title was so tempting I just knew I had to have this and I was so excited down to the toes….to be given the ARC of this one from Avon Books. This is a story that is based on some real facts. I love that Sophie Jordan was able to tie in Bride Buying into one of her novels. Bride buying….was a REAL thing folks. In the UK…England, Scotland and Wales, you could sell your wife if you didn’t want to go through a divorce and anullment wasn’t an option. And unfortunately this happened up till the early 1900’s. The date was a shocker for me but really happened. And Sophie Jordan puts her own delightful twist and boy
I had a fun time with this one.
Our tale begins with our hero, on the very first page, waking up to his face in muck…Literally. He is filthy and gross, and finds out that he was in jail this whole night because of some bar maid and he might have tore up the place a bit. Not the best place a Duke should be. Marcus, is the Duke of Autenberry and fleeing London and losing his best friend and feeling betrayed when his step mother and friend fall in love. So his plan is to go to his estate in Scotland and losing himself there where he seeks some solitude.
Alyse, lost her father and had to live up to the agreement her father made with the man that became her husband. She took care of his children and cleaned his home, and all these years she is still a virgin. But he wants to marry another woman, and they come up with an agreement. She will put herself up to be auction, because she has a friend who will take her as his wife and they will have adventures and reside in London. But once she arrives and is put on the auction block, her friend abandon’s her and she is forced to be the wife of someone else.
Marcus while riding on his way out of town, stumbles into the bridal auction and is shocked and appaled at what he is seeing. A beautiful young woman, being treated like a piece of meat especially in the way fellow men are treating her, like a slave. So Marcus, being the honorable man he is, offers for her. Marcus, has no plans to take a wife or become besotted like his brother or best friend but this is a woman in need of help or her fate could be way worse. He offers her a deal, protection and safety and she will see to his household as his housekeeper. Both Marcus and Alyse are both practical persons, so it seems like a reasonable agreement.
I don’t doubt love. I was so young when my mother died I can’t even remember her. At fifteen my father died and I married a man old enough to be my grandfather. I had to work his farm, raise his children, cook and launder for him. That same man sold me at auction. So I’ve seen things too, you know. I’ve seen ugly things and I still believe in love. Your life must have been very hard indeed for you to be such a non believer.
Alyse, at first, is shocked that this dirty smelling man is to be her husband. Oh boy, she didn’t realize what she was getting herself into. On their first night on their journey, they stop at an inn, and after Marcus takes a bath, she gets a real good clean look at him, and is humbled by how gorgeous he is and starts feeling some self doubts. But she made a deal and will stand by it. But while on their journey, both Macrus and Alyse realize how much they are attracted to each other. And during a heated argument, tempers flare, hands fly and a angry yet passionate kiss is shared between them and the flames just rise between them along with the temptation.
Love makes fools of us all, big and little?
Marcus knows that he can’t pursue this desire he feels for Alyse, but he wants her and he is slowly starting to fall hard for her. But Marcus is very cynical about life and is afraid to love and it isn’t until Alyse becomes sick on their journey and he is forced to face up to his feelings for Alyse and wants her to be his wife for REAL. But he just might have to fight for her against crazy highlanders, his brother and even her previous suitor to prove to her his devotion and his heart….
This is a story that I was pretty excited for and it was so different than I was expecting. I have read auction stories before, however, I loved the tropes that come along with this story and it really fits just right with this pairing. We have a mix of “On The Road Adventure” and “Rags To Riches” which are both solid romance tropes to read. The majority of the book, there is quite a bit of traveling and adventure and even some kidnapping by some rogue highlanders (and boy I am really hoping the Laird is in the series because he was a HOOT!…such a scoundrel)
We also have the “Rags to Riches” trope. Our heroine, grew up poor and doesn’t realize until the end that she is married to a Duke. She has no clue how to be a duchess and you see how she comes to terms with her new station. Alyse is such a sweet heroine but so STRONG and courageous. I loved her tenacity and determination. But she does have some flaws. The one aspect of her character I really didn’t like was a scene where she slaps the hero. And yes he wasn’t being super super nice, but they were in a argument and neither of them were pulling the verbal punches. And then she slaps him and boy that irked me. (I really hate heroine slapping the hero) I just didn’t feel like it was justified at all. I am a bit forgiving since this is a historical romance, and the customs were a bit different back then. I was really intrigued when we meet Marcus half brother though, I still need to read the first book, but I loved him and Poppy. They were so darling, so I will be grabbing up book one NOW!! hehe
Gentlemen did not fall in love with girls they bought on an auction block. Not in any fairy tale she ever read.
The romance that builds between these two is soft and slow at times, they have some powerful chemistry, but they both deny what they feel for each other. Alyse is more ready to accept her feelings for Marcus, since she is open to love. However Marcus, is stubborn and cynical and brooding, so he takes WAY longer, but he proves himself in the end and boy the way the hero grovels, was so tender and sweet.
The Smexy times between these two was just so fantastic. I loved how much they connect in the bedroom and boy the hero really knows how to please his lady. He always puts her pleasure about his own and I really like that in a hero. And boy some of these scenes were much HOTTER than I was expecting but I gravitated towards it because it only added onto the intimacy that is slowly building between this pair.
He was there for her. He would always be there for her. He was the person she could trust even though he had claimed she should trust no one.
What really gives you the sastisfying feels, is the very end when these two face up to what their hearts and minds are in sync with and that sometimes you have to FIGHT for who you love no matter the cost to yourself and boy the ending in this book was so romantic and left me with huge amounts of happy feels and I closed this story with a happy sigh. A story that is filled with sensuality, adventure, being true to yourself and learning what loving someone else truly means and the sacrifice it takes ….TRULY MESMERIZING!